TSA Issues New Alert on What You Can't Bring Through Security
Don't let yourself get slowed down at the airport this summer.
Whether you're packing for a week-long vacation to Europe or a weekend trip to see the in-laws, deciding what to take and what to leave behind can be a stressful scenario. But if you're traveling by air, there are extra considerations to make when packing, because of the many items prohibited in your carry-on by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Now, the agency is issuing an urgent summer alert to make sure you're prepared for your next getaway. Read on for the TSA's latest warning on what you can't bring through airport security.
READ THIS NEXT: TSA Is Making Another Major Change to Airport Security.
There is expected to be a record number of air travelers this summer.
If you're jet-setting off somewhere this summer, prepare for crowds. Back in April, David Pekoske, who currently serves as the head of TSA, told Bloomberg that the agency is expecting to have a record-breaking summer season for air travel, with U.S. airline passenger levels projected to be "comfortably above" pre-pandemic numbers.
"I expect that we're going to see very, very strong demand all the way through the summertime, and that's that's what we're preparing for," Pekoske said.
And so far, that prediction seems to be true. According to checkpoint travel numbers, TSA screened 2,884,783 travelers across the country on June 30—which the agency said is the "highest checkpoint volume ever" in the history of TSA.
In comparison, TSA reached a peak of 2.79 million passengers in a single day during the Fourth of July holiday travel week in 2019.
TSA is stressing the importance of being prepared.
The busy travel season is sure to bring about plenty of frustrations. But in a press release issued on July 6, TSA said there is one thing that can help make for smoother travel this summer: preparation.
"Planning ahead and packing properly can facilitate the TSA security screening process and ease a passenger's travel experience at the airport," John Essig, TSA's federal security director at John F. Kennedy (JFK) International Airport, said in a statement.
In its latest alert, TSA is pushing a "Know Before You Go" campaign this year. The agency is stressing that travelers should know what's in their luggage before they get to the airport, and make sure that everything inside is permitted to be there.
"It is important to know what can be packed in carry-on and/or checked baggage before arriving at the airport," Essig explained.
There is one prohibited item slowing many people down lately.
If you're not looking to face any hold-ups at the airport this summer, make sure you're being thoughtful about your luggage. As TSA noted in its new alert, "the most common thing that slows down a traveler at a TSA checkpoint is having a prohibited item in a carry-on bag."
Lately, there is one prohibited item in particular that's showing up in people's carry-ons.
"We are seeing a lot of travelers arrive at our checkpoints with … a variety of knives," Essig said. "If you must travel with a knife, please pack it in your checked bag."
In a new interview with CBS News, officials warned that it doesn't matter if your knife is concealed—it is still not permitted. TSA agent DeVaughn Edwards told the outlet that recently they've been finding knives disguised as other items.
"It looks like a credit card to a lot of other people, but when we check wallets we find a lot of these," Edwards explained. "When we check bracelets, we pull them out and there's a knife in between them."
Of course, that's not the only thing you can't bring through security.
Knives are just one of the many prohibited items. TSA has an entire section on its website dedicated to help travelers find out what can and can't be packed in their carry-on.
"It's important to remember that liquids, gels, aerosols and spreadables are limited to 3.4 ounces in one clear quart-sized bag in carry-on bags," Essig said in the new alert. "Finish that bottle of water, energy drink or cup of coffee before you get to the checkpoint. Pack the larger shampoo, toothpaste, sunblock and hair gel in a checked bag."
In order to avoid any issues, TSA recommends that travelers always start with an empty bag when they get ready to pack for a trip. This way, "the passenger knows with certainty what they have got inside and they know that there is nothing prohibited in a side pouch, zippered pocket or just in the bottom of a bag."
Of course, there are certain things that passengers may not be able to prepare for.
"It's also important to remember that even if an item is generally permitted, it may be subject to additional screening or not allowed through the checkpoint if it triggers an alarm during the screening process, appears to have been tampered with, or poses other security concerns," TSA explained.